"Wage labor turns people into animals" | TigerDroppings.com

Posted byMessage
Patrick O Rly
New Orleans Saints Fan
y u do dis?
Member since Aug 2011
36568 posts
 Online 

"Wage labor turns people into animals"


I heard Noam Chomsky say this, or something along those lines, but he didn't expound upon it, at least not in that Speech. In the same speech, he also said that Libertarians are for tyranny, and that "corporate tyranny" is worst than any kind of government tyranny.

What do you suppose he meant by "Wage labor turns people into animals?" or am I misquoting him?







Back to top
Share:
blueboy
LSU Fan
between here and there
Member since Apr 2006
17565 posts

re: "Wage labor turns people into animals"


Show me any example in all of history where there was "corporate tyranny" that was worse than N. Korea, Bela Kuhn Austria or Stalinist Russia. Give me ONE example where the "corporations" were more tyrannical than runaway governmental authority.





Back to top
Patrick O Rly
New Orleans Saints Fan
y u do dis?
Member since Aug 2011
36568 posts
 Online 

re: "Wage labor turns people into animals"


Better yet, show me in history a private monopoly that didn't come into being and sustained by government intervention.





Back to top
Bard
LA-Monroe Fan
BR
Member since Oct 2008
15621 posts

re: "Wage labor turns people into animals"


When talking about "The Wealth of Nations" Chomsky wrote:

quote:

‘But not many people get to the point hundreds of pages later, where he says that division of labor will destroy human beings and turn people into creatures as stupid and ignorant as it is possible for a human being to be.’


He seems to be talking about this excerpt (book V, pg 782):

quote:

“In the progress of the division of labour, the employment of the far greater part of those who live by labour, that is, of the great body of the people, comes to be confined to a few very simple operations, frequently to one or two. But the understandings of the greater part of men are necessarily formed by their ordinary employments. The man whose whole life is spent in performing a few simple operations, of which the effects are perhaps always the same, or very nearly the same, has no occasion to exert his understanding or to exercise his invention in finding out expedients for removing difficulties which never occur. He naturally loses, therefore, the habit of such exertion, and generally becomes as stupid and ignorant as it is possible for a human creature to become. The torpor of his mind renders him not only incapable of relishing or bearing a part in any rational conversation, but of conceiving any generous, noble, or tender sentiment, and consequently of forming any just judgment concerning many even of the ordinary duties of private life. Of the great and extensive interests of his country he is altogether incapable of judging, and unless very particular pains have been taken to render him otherwise, he is equally incapable of defending his country in war. The uniformity of his stationary life naturally corrupts the courage of his mind, and makes him regard with abhorrence the irregular, uncertain, and adventurous life of a soldier. It corrupts even the activity of his body, and renders him incapable of exerting his strength with vigour and perseverance in any other employment than that to which he has been bred. His dexterity at his own particular trade seems, in this manner, to be acquired at the expence of his intellectual, social, and martial virtues. But in every improved and civilized society this is the state into which the labouring poor, that is, the great body of the people, must necessarily fall, unless government takes some pains to prevent it.”


tl;dr version basically says that doing repetitive and menial tasks dulls the mind to the point of being merely a beast of burden.




This post was edited on 11/30 at 10:55 pm


Back to top
LSURussian
LSU Fan
Baton Rouge
Member since Feb 2005
79930 posts
 Online 

re: "Wage labor turns people into animals"


I'm pretty sure he said wage labor turns people into slaves, not animals. He was paraphrasing a Karl Marx saying.





Back to top
baybeefeetz
the now
Member since Sep 2009
13493 posts

re: "Wage labor turns people into animals"


I actually am an animal. Bipedal mammal.





Back to top
Bard
LA-Monroe Fan
BR
Member since Oct 2008
15621 posts

re: "Wage labor turns people into animals"


inb4 bloodhoundgang





Back to top
HailHailtoMichigan!
Michigan Fan
Mission Viejo, CA
Member since Mar 2012
10240 posts
 Online 

re: "Wage labor turns people into animals"


quote:

corporate tyranny
oxymoron.

Corporations exist because of consumers.






Back to top
Bayou Sam
LSU Fan
Snake and Jake's Christmas Club
Member since Aug 2009
4897 posts

re: "Wage labor turns people into animals"


Yeah the idea is the Marxist--essentially, the wage laborer doesn't really "own" his own labor, because the "surplus" of his labor goes to the capitalist. Marx turns this into a quasi-spiritual idea...the laborer alienates himself to the owner of capital.

Marx opposes this to the medieval craftsman, whose surplus profits go to himself. But the medieval situation has its own alienating problems (feudalism particularly). So the solution is for the people as a whole to become the capitalists...i.e., the people own the means of production. Then they aren't alienated through their collective ownership.

Obviously this is pretty rosy and hardly actionable. But I think the basic point that wage labor is alienating is sound--however, I'm more inclined to think that the best way of overcoming alienation is by producing more and more wealth through capitalism.






Back to top
Bard
LA-Monroe Fan
BR
Member since Oct 2008
15621 posts

re: "Wage labor turns people into animals"


quote:

Yeah the idea is the Marxist--essentially, the wage laborer doesn't really "own" his own labor, because the "surplus" of his labor goes to the capitalist.


The problem with Marx's view is that he thinks of labor as the product when it's actually only the means of creating the product. Because of this the capitalist owns the labor, not the laborer.

The laborer is paid for their time in performing the labor but the labor exists to be done whether the laborer is there or not to do it. If the capitalist does not exist, neither does the labor. If the laborer does not exist, the labor still does but it just isn't being completed.




This post was edited on 11/30 at 11:23 pm


Back to top
Bayou Sam
LSU Fan
Snake and Jake's Christmas Club
Member since Aug 2009
4897 posts

re: "Wage labor turns people into animals"


I take your basic point, but it's more complicated than that. I'm not Marx expert, so I'll probably not explain it very well, but his theory of labor is rooted in the Hegelian master-slave dialectic (with a materialist twist).

Labor is really subjectivity--human agency, creative power, productive power, etc. But by filtering labor through the capitalist--who sucks, as it were, a portion of that labor into his profits (this is what "exploitation" means: and Marx explains it as an endemic feature of capitalism)--the laborer is turned into an object. It is here that labor is turned into a product. This is the process of alienation, and why wage laborers become animals.






Back to top
blueboy
LSU Fan
between here and there
Member since Apr 2006
17565 posts

re: "Wage labor turns people into animals"


quote:

tl;dr version basically says that doing repetitive and menial tasks dulls the mind to the point of being merely a beast of burden.

Dull, repetitive labor is a facet of ANY kind of society, capitalist, marxist or any else. If people want products, someone is going to have to make them and it usually won't be through enriching, satisfying work.

His preferred marxist system actually dooms more people to this kind of work than capitalism, and it removes most avenues of social mobility in the process, so his preferred system also KEEPS people in that state of being.

Yeah, frick you too, Noam.






Back to top
blueboy
LSU Fan
between here and there
Member since Apr 2006
17565 posts

re: "Wage labor turns people into animals"


quote:

The problem with Marx's view is that he thinks of labor as the product when it's actually only the means of creating the product. Because of this the capitalist owns the labor, not the laborer.

The laborer is paid for their time in performing the labor but the labor exists to be done whether the laborer is there or not to do it. If the capitalist does not exist, neither does the labor. If the laborer does not exist, the labor still does but it just isn't being completed.
In a nutshell. Best post I've read in a while.






Back to top
Bard
LA-Monroe Fan
BR
Member since Oct 2008
15621 posts

re: "Wage labor turns people into animals"


quote:

Labor is really subjectivity--human agency, creative power, productive power, etc.


Marx failed to understand that while there is a struggle between the proletariat and the bourgeoisie, it's nothing compared to the symbiotic relationship between the two (in fact, he doesn't recognize that the relationship exists at all, if memory serves). The Bourgeoisie (the Capitalist - business owner) survives off the efforts of the Proletariat (Labor), but the resource of the Proletariat is so plentiful that the Proletariat is the lesser in the relationship. In other words, there will always be a Proletariat for the Bourgeoisie, but if the Bourgeoisie goes away, so too does the possibility of a better life for the Proletariat.

He also failed to understand that the Proletariat is really just the nascent version of the Bourgeoisie because few workers are content to stay at the status quo, the demand and supply for goods and services is never at a perfect equilibrium and even if it were to reach it, such a period would be so brief as to be immeasurable.

Translation: because people always want better and more, the natural order is for Labor to work to become the Capitalist while the Capitalist works to become even bigger. It's all about achievement and growth. Marx's vision was limited only to the struggle and the false impression that without a Bourgeoisie, life among the Proletariat would achieve some sort of mythical nirvana. My belief is that he was so caught up in the struggle that he completely missed the human factor in determining how a Bourgeoisie-less society would work.



This post was edited on 12/1 at 12:29 am


Back to top
ShortyRob
LSU Fan
Huntsville, AL
Member since Oct 2008
26467 posts

re: "Wage labor turns people into animals"


quote:

I heard Noam Chomsky say this, or something along those lines, but he didn't expound upon it, at least not in that Speech. In the same speech, he also said that Libertarians are for tyranny, and that "corporate tyranny" is worst than any kind of government tyranny.
Chomsky is one of the stupidest smart people to ever walk the planet. AND, he's a flaming hypocrite.

He advocates against intellectual propery rights but vigorously defends his own. He bitches about the rich, but earns tons off of his books.

As to the argument that corporate Tyranny trumps govt tyranny, that's just so fricking dumb it's almsot ghetto/trailer trash dumb.

You could create a list of the worst offenses in the history of the world by private enterprise and in 5 minutes, the average fricking Jr. High dropout could list 5 govt examples that made corporations look as dangerous as fricking Kermit the frog.






Back to top
Patrick O Rly
New Orleans Saints Fan
y u do dis?
Member since Aug 2011
36568 posts
 Online 

re: "Wage labor turns people into animals"


quote:

Chomsky is one of the stupidest smart people to ever walk the planet. AND, he's a flaming hypocrite.



Kind of seems like it. I remember listening to him and thinking "What the hell are these people clapping for." It wasn't because I disagreed with him (which I did), but because he hadn't made a salient point yet. It was sort of like watching the TV show Whitney; freaking torture.






Back to top
CITWTT
LSU Fan
baton rouge
Member since Sep 2005
31765 posts

re: "Wage labor turns people into animals"


Chomsky is the best known proponent of communism in the "academy" in America for sure. The description of Libertarians as tyrannical is just a damned joke if you have ever read some of his books.





Back to top
Bayou Sam
LSU Fan
Snake and Jake's Christmas Club
Member since Aug 2009
4897 posts

re: "Wage labor turns people into animals"


quote:

Marx failed to understand that while there is a struggle between the proletariat and the bourgeoisie, it's nothing compared to the symbiotic relationship between the two (in fact, he doesn't recognize that the relationship exists at all, if memory serves). The Bourgeoisie (the Capitalist - business owner) survives off the efforts of the Proletariat (Labor), but the resource of the Proletariat is so plentiful that the Proletariat is the lesser in the relationship. In other words, there will always be a Proletariat for the Bourgeoisie, but if the Bourgeoisie goes away, so too does the possibility of a better life for the Proletariat.



Yeah, I agree with your basic point, but Marx definitely thinks there's a relationship between the two.

The proletariat needs the bourgeois to understand itself as labor. This is why Marx likes bourgeois capitalism--it "brings to consciousness" labor as labor, which was hidden in the mystifications of the middle ages.

In other words, capitalism makes labor into an object, a tool of its profits, and that makes labor possible to think about from the point of view of the proletariat, who then realize that the modes of production must change if he is to realize himself as a full human being.

My view of this is like yours, though with some difference. I don't think that it's the natural order for labor to become capitalist. This seems to me a very weak redemption for labor.

On the contrary, I think that the capitalist mode of production produces so much wealth and leisure time from that wealth that people have the best chance of "realizing themselves as human beings" (in Marx's sense) in the capitalist system. I think Marx was wrong, thinking of full humanity in terms of the leisure class of his day. But he did not perceive that leisure would be spread due to the great rise in the standard of living and wealth. Hence message boards like tigerdroppings.






Back to top
prplhze2000
LSU Fan
Parts Unknown
Member since Jan 2007
30990 posts
 Online 

re: "Wage labor turns people into animals"


he also thinks private property is legalized theft. Go read international socialist review. They think all private property is theft.





Back to top
Patrick O Rly
New Orleans Saints Fan
y u do dis?
Member since Aug 2011
36568 posts
 Online 

re: "Wage labor turns people into animals"


quote:

he also thinks private property is legalized theft. Go read international socialist review. They think all private property is theft.


Good lord, and they think taxes are A-OK?






Back to top


Back to top




//